ANN ARBOR, MI-Though it will somewhat hurt the city in the short term, the recent purchase of the two-million-square-foot former Pfizer complex here by the University of Michigan, announced Thursday afternoon, will ultimately bring thousands of UofM Health System employees and research companies to the property, local and state leaders agree. The school, which owns adjacent property for its North campus and had actually sold Pfizer’s predecessor, Parke-Davis, the majority of the 174 acres in 1957,is buying back the property from the pharmaceutical company for $108 million.

Pfizer had announced in January 2007 that it would shutter the complex, which includes 30 office, laboratory and manufacturing buildings, by late this year. The company had numerous walk-throughs with potential buyers, including UofM and Forest City Enterprises Inc. The university will now take over the ghost town of a property, and expects to close by June after due diligence and compliance with state and regulatory compliance. The recent deal includes $12 million from the university to clean up any potential environmental problems.

University officials said in statements that they will use buildings currently on the property. “We have been building and renovating across our campus to meet the need (for health research facilities), but we have struggled to keep pace with the incredible productivity of our faculty and staff,” says Dr. Robert Kelch, the university’s EVP for medical affairs and CEO of the UofM Health System, in a statement. “This new space presents and unprecedented opportunity to fulfill their needs now and in the future, to recruit new faculty and their teams to our institution, and to develop our region’s power as a magnet for high-skill workers.”

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